Friday, June 25, 2010
This author and I had been talking about his book and enjoyed a light lunch in the process. With classical music playing softly in the background and the effervescence of freshly perked cappuccino, I felt very important and very metro NY (whatever that’s like—I was raised in the South). We were still highly engaged in the conversation, when he just got up from the table and walked out the door. I was like, “OK… What just happened? Is that it?” He didn’t come back, so I slowly gathered my things (’cause I was really confused and really trying to figure this thing out) and headed toward the exit. I actually laughed out loud at the level of awkwardness.
When I got to the door, the author was kind of standing on the outside of it holding it open. So I came right out and asked him, “What just happened?” He said that he thought we were finished and he got up to open the door for me. But I swear I was still dipping my last little morsels of bread in my broccoli and cheese soup when he bolted for the door. I don’t know. Strange moment.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Just the other day, I posted a comparison of what an indie author would need vs. what an indie musician would need to make their project available to a waiting audience. At the top of the list, I had “manager” for the indie musician and “agent” for the indie author. There was one comment from Vanessa O’Loughlin of www.inkwellwriters.ie that said:
"Your Key Player list though is pulling on both self-publishing and traditional publishing, which may be confusing for some writers. If you are self-publishing, you don’t need an agent.”
While I had to rethink what I had said and respond to her comment with what I intended to say, I have since mused over what services an agent may indeed be able to provide an indie author.
Vanessa was right in part, but in a #litchat Twitter discussion today, @JulieBritt asked a brilliant question: “What about selling movie, TV, or technology-not-yet-invented rights. How do you do that without an agent?”
One answer, of course, is simply that you can do whatever you need to do to get your book into the venues and formats you desire without having an agent, but do you want to venture into that without a professional guide?
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Once again I pose a question that links my two worlds: music and books.
I was reading in The Indie Band Survival Guide (yes, I am eating this book for breakfast) that radio DJs used to be paid by recording companies to place new music from their recording artists into their daily rotation (or playlist). Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ve heard of payola. Artists became overnight sensations and their songs instant hits just because their record company had the clout and money to pay enough major-media-market DJs to play their singles. This scenario was portrayed in the Tom Hanks' movie That Thing You Do. Supposedly there were laws passed once the practice got way out of hand, and paying DJs to play certain music was outlawed. According to the book, paying DJs still goes on but through third party promoters, advertisements, and gifting stations with things like vans and concert tickets. Rules are made to be…bent, I guess.
Of course I would never accuse my industry of doing any sort of behavior that would bring its integrity into question. I am only acknowledging the growing influence of book bloggers. I am beginning to see sprinkles of comments on Twitter about publishers needing to send chocolate with their ARCs to “encourage” bloggers to do reviews—and even to do them on a timely basis that coincides with the book’s release. I don't know that they ever get chocolate, but how is that much different than editors being sent sweet treats and being taken out for lunch or dinner? However, I am sure that most publishers are like mine in that they have strict policies about receiving or accepting gifts from clients. I wonder if those kinds of boundaries will need to be in place for book reviewers.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Twitter Roundup of Book Publishers, Consultants, Agents, Editors, and Marketing Professionals for Adult Fiction/Nonfiction
I am always encouraging the writers I meet to get to know the book industry and the publishers who publish that kind of work they are interested in writing. So to make it easier, here is a listing of the publishing houses and book professionals that I’ve enjoyed following on Twitter for that last eight months. They are all pretty active in talking about the book industry and the happenings in their corner of the market, and they have blogs (some of which you’ll find on the sidebar of my blog) that discuss how to be successful in the book industry. Most of the ones listed below are for adult fiction or nonfiction. Hopefully, this will be a great start for getting linked in and joining the conversation. You can also check out GalleyCat’s list of the best book editors on Twitter. To get started, click on any of the Twitter handles below to be linked directly to the corresponding Twitter profile.
Mainstream Book Publishers
Christian/Inspirational Book Publisher
Book Editors, Editorial Directors, Senior/Executive/Acquisitions Editors
Book Marketing/PR Powerhouses
Digital Book Publishers, News, and Information
Book Publishing Professionals/Consultants
I am sure that I’ve missed some. Would you be so kind as to add those who should be on this list and include their job position or the kind of books they publish?
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
If in music, unsigned can equal indie, and, in car sales, used is now preowned, then what will happen with the term self-published?
Because of the parallel life that I lead as an “unsigned” recording artist, I often run smack dab into crossover experiences that literary writers have. I think that may also cause me to respond in a more careful way when I review their work as a book editor. I feel blessed being able to see both sides of the journey.
Sometimes I wonder why so many writers appear desperate to be published by a publishing company, when there are just so many other options to getting their message out to the world. Traditional publishing is changing in such a big way these days, and in ways so similar to how the music recording industry changed. From fixed media like tapes and CDs to digital media transferers such as Napster, Rhapsody, iTunes, and MP3s streaming from the artist’s Web sites—from print books to e-books (and just the other day I saw an author offering readers a free read of their book “streaming” on their Web site), how can we except the big frown from “them” about the validity of self-publishing?
Just as consumers think that somehow they are of a special breed when they find a new indie recording artist, readers are going to begin to find it very cool to discover a new “indie” writer. However, quality makes all the difference. Put some money, time, strategy, research, networking, and hard work behind it and who will know the difference between a self-pub and traditionally pubbed book on the shelf or on iBooks?